Re: RFC: return type of functions passed to DEVICE_INIT()

Benjamin Walsh <benjamin.walsh@...>

For some reason, the signature of functions passed to the
DEVICE_INIT() <init_fn> parameter has a return type of 'int', but
the return value is never checked within
_sys_device_do_config_level(). Some init functions do return an
error code, such as the ARC init code and the bluetooth init
routines, but that just gets ignored.

Question: should we have init functions of return type 'void' then ?
That would shave a few bytes in every init function if we don't have
to return a value.
We generally try to operate under the assumption that failures will
not occur. That being said, we do have some instances where we do
check for errors, and some of these are considered fatal.

My take on it is that for Zephyr a failed device initialization
should be considered a fatal event. My expectation is that the
Zephyr user will only be enabling relevant (and important) devices to
their project. If one of these devices should fail, then that is a
serious system error and _NanoFatalErrorHandler() should be invoked.

If this train of thought holds up to scrutiny, and if the aim is to
save a few bytes then I would think that it would be better to have
the device initialization routines return a failure code and have
_sys_device_do_config_level() check for it and invoke the fatal error
handler upon the detection of failure. Otherwise we duplicate the
overhead of calling the fatal error handler in each device
initialization routine.
Sorry for the slow response. I agree with Peter here I think we should
be checking the return value and doing something useful with the
result. Maybe not _NanoFatalErrorHandler() but something notifying
the application that something bad happened. A given device not
initializing may not be fatal to the the whole application, just one
feature is currently unavailable.
For the kind of systems we are targeting, do we really expect the
application to handle devices not initializing correctly, being designed
so that parts are disabled if some parts of the initialization fail
(devices or others), or do we expect applications to require everything
to be present for them to function correctly ? I would have thought the
latter, but I can be convinced.

Then, if the latter, do we expect the application catching the errors at
runtime when deployed or during development (basically catching software
errors mostly) not malfunctionning hardware. Here, I was thinking the
latter as well, which is why I was proposing __ASSERT() calls catching
initialization errors in debug loads only. And this fits with one of the
core values of the OS, which is small footprint.

Any of those could be a valid approach I think, but we have to decide on
one. And right now, we have the worst since we return those error codes
which are meant for runtime handling, but they just go into the void.

How we could/should report this type of error is an open question :-).

If we want to let the application handle the initialization issues, we
probably need some kind of queue that gets filled by the init system
when init functions return errors, and that the application drains to
see what failed. We might want to queue the associated device objects,
and have an errno field in there, or something like that.

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